View Full Version : Natural Swimming Pools/Ponds
07-18-2009, 12:04 PM
I have been looking into these pools and have noticed that many of my customers are very interested in these things; there might be a large market for natural pools. How many of you have built a natural pool? If so, what is your market for them?
07-19-2009, 11:15 AM
I have offered the option of Natural Swimming Pools to my customers for over 4 years. I am sorry to say that I have yet to install the first one.
There is a potential market, but you are battling bureaucracy in the form of state and local health ordinances preventing this type of installation and the notion (that the ad gurus have effectively instilled in the American public) that everything has to be sterile.
I even contacted the Center for Disease Control to get their take on such an installation. They claimed that they had never heard of this type of swimming facility, even though they are extensive in Europe and Southeast Asia in the form of both private and public facilities. They did comment that they did see a definite problem with a Natural Swimming Pool for community use. The CDC did say that a residential installation would possibly, and I emphasize POSSIBLY, be safe enough for single family use, but they were reluctant to issue a public statement. Their main concern with a Natural Swimming Pool is the presence of fecal coliform bacteria especially E. Coli in levels that are above the Federal guidelines.
I have had many inquiries from as far away as Tennessee (I am in Florida) but no evidence of actual installations. Here again, they probably ran into a brick wall of state and local ordinances governing swimming facilities.
I continue to offer this option to my customers with the hope that someday the bureaucracy will get current with present day technology and scientific research. I say this because it has been proven in Europe and Southeast Asia that a 'Natural Swimming Pool', properly designed and constructed, poses a much lower health risk than it's usual chemical based counterpart.
I could continue with this subject for several pages, but simply put,you are fighting antiquated ordinances and a large, brain-washed portion of the public.
07-19-2009, 01:21 PM
could you explain what it is?
07-19-2009, 02:36 PM
Your question is vague, be more specific.
07-19-2009, 02:39 PM
I have thought of trying this for years after watching a large scape co. in the Lehigh Valley do this first one. Notice the pool skimmer to the right of the falls. A 2" line right over the liner to the pool filter. Residential area & no fence. A couple of years ago I was working for an excavator & he wanted to do it "large". Hence, photo 2. Has since moved & don't know status. I see one of these in my near future.
07-19-2009, 10:14 PM
If you use regular commercial pool filtration, you still have a commercial pool, even though it may have a natural appearance. The Natural Swimming Pools in this thread utilize the same filtration as ponds: mechanical, biological and phyto, and preferably a commercial grade UV Sterilizer. They are the same as a pond except definitely deeper and somewhat larger. They do not contain any fish, however. A commercial pool will use chemicals and/or a salt generator (I think that's what they are called). A Natural swimming Pool utilizes neither, relying basically on natural proceses for water quality.
07-19-2009, 10:34 PM
ok that answers my question. why not just bring the both of them together to form the perfect pool? a rubber liner with large boulders stacked up on top of it, sand between the cracks, a sand beach, stone water fall stone stairs...... ya da ya da but then have the normal chemical, salt, uv treatment to keep it super clean.
07-20-2009, 12:11 AM
What you are describing has surely already been done, but is not what is referred to as a Natural Swimming Pool such as the lead post in this thread by FNC asked about. The main selling point of a Natural Swimming Pool is it's lack of chemical use. Many people today would like to avoid any more contact with chemicals than they are already exposed to from food additives, pesticides, herbicides, commercial fertilizers, ad nauseum.
Effective anti-bacterial action can be acheived with the proper balance of mechanical, biological and phyto filtration of which the latter is the most important. Certain plants, such as Typha (Catttail) has been shown under controlled testing to actually reduce the E. coli levels in water. The scientists don't yet know how this plant does this, but they have the results to prove that it does. Many other aquatic plant have similar abilities, so the type of plants used in the phyto filter is important. You can still use the decorative aquatics for looks.
07-22-2009, 05:43 PM
Here's some good info on this subject. http://www.ippca.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=2791&hilit=natural+swimming+ponds
07-22-2009, 05:45 PM
Notice on second page the second post!!
07-22-2009, 08:52 PM
Thanks Larry, excellent link. I agree with the essence of that forum thread. An installation is either a Pond or a Pool. It cannot be both because of the human use factor and the related health concerns. Natural Swimming Pools can be built to conform to state and local building codes, it is the Health Departments that are the toughest to deal with. As long a the CDC continues to publicly advocate chlorine as the only effective bacterial control, not much can be done. If irradiated food is safe for human consumption then why isn't irradiated water? Why, because the chemical industry would take one h-ll of a bottom line hit if suddenly all Pool owners quit using chemical treatments. These chemicals, incidentally, are recommended to be use in amounts that will only maintain the levels of harmful microbes below Federal guidelines. If they were used in sufficient strength to completely sterilize the water, it would then be toxic to humans. Commercial grade UV Sterilizers, like those accepted for use in irradiating food, WILL reduce microbial levels to far less than chemical use AND the resulting water is completely safe and non-toxic to humans.
All you have to do is to go out and convince the bureaucratic Po-Bahs.
08-06-2009, 09:31 PM
We build natural swimming ponds (http://www.aquahabitat.com/swimming.ponds.html) designed to function like natural lakes and rivers. Notice the comparison is NOT to a traditional swimming pool. If you enter this market in our society you have to adjust the frame of reference to something reasonable like a natural river.
Your contract should also reflect this caveat.
With any new trend, there are hordes of people claiming proficiency. That makes the market more volatile for actual qualified swimming pond designers (http://www.aquahabitat.com/swimming.ponds.html). I have been amazed at how many landscape architects are suddenly self proclaimed experts in aquatic ecology.
08-11-2009, 07:12 PM
I thought that you guys would be interested in this link.
This is an English company.
08-11-2009, 08:47 PM
im just not sold on that idea, people just want to get into a "clean" pool. not into a pool with "weeds" and "yuky stuff" growing in it. ( "what a client would say"). i just want to do a big all stone and sand pool made of huge boulders stacked up onto of a heavy duty linner. have a nice little sand beach and water fall but it will all be chlorinated and filtered just like a normal pool.
i think i could do one for the same price if not less then a gunite pool.
08-12-2009, 01:44 AM
You might want to do some research on the effects of Chlorine on EPDM. You may or may not have a problem in this regard.
08-12-2009, 02:53 AM
Hmm I didn't even think about that. Its just in a "idea phase".
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08-20-2009, 05:08 AM
I thought that you guys would be interested in this link.
This is an English company.
Good Day fellow ponderers. I have been a member for the past year, but have had little time to pop in. I hope to be able to participate more as I enjoy all the advice given here.
This is a nice link, and this pond http://www.naturalswimmingpools-freeformplanted.co.uk/ is similar to what Oase markets in Europe and is trying to sell in the states.
I am still unsure what the concerns are here. I understand what is being said, but I can't quite grasp what the problem is. I am not a defender of Oase, but I am a strong supporter of the swimming pond concept. And I certainly don't want to be regulated as a swimming pool contractor.
Basically, we are looking at a rectangular pond with up flow, bog/bio filtration on three sides. I can put fish in it if I want and go swimming with these same fish if I want. The construction is no different than many of the water features I build now, except these are larger and use vertical sides to reduce algae build up and maintenance.
I think the concept is fun.
I have attended several Oase open houses at their warehouse in CA. I received volumes of new information each time I went, both on Oase products and on the pond industry in general. Oase has made many changes to their marketing information concerning this product. From what I understand, they have had more conversations with government agencies than I would ever wish on my worst enemy.
So build a pond with rock and gravel or just a liner and bio falls, or build a more formal pond that makes it easy to swim around in without mixing up all the sediment on the bottom and making murky water. The point is that it is still more of pond than a swimming pool.
I also read a few posts about ladders in the pool. I don't think there is any law about building steps coming out of the pond. But I do know in Oase's "kit" that the motors etc are under the deck and the ladder comes off of the deck to access the water. I guess a ladder with good treads would be less slippery than rocks on a beach etc.
09-07-2009, 10:41 AM
Bob Dews from NC has the cover shot and big article on a huge swimming pond in Watershapes Magazine this last month. It is a great article and a beautiful pond.
It uses AquaUltraviolet Ultima filtration coupled with lots of UV. Also incorporates lots of bog planting for natural filtration. Suposedly the pond stays crystal clear. The thing that surprised me was the Jandy swimming pool heaters used to temper the water.
It is basically a pond that you can swim in.
By the way, this is a great magazine mostly focused on high end pool building. It is free to subscribe and inspiring to say the least.
09-08-2009, 09:02 PM
I will post some pictures of my pond we are just rebuilding it it is 30 feet wide 21 feet front to back and 5 feet deep with steps to walk in and out i guess you could swim in it but it is a pond and there is nothing wrong with swimming in ponds that are proprely filtered
01-08-2010, 10:10 PM
pretty cool thread thanks guys!
01-08-2010, 10:24 PM
So what is the difference between these ponds and an inground pool? What kind of liner is used, is it the same as the regular garden pond liner?
01-08-2010, 10:28 PM
I had never heard of this concept before, I think it would be really neat to have one but it would take a lot of space. It doesn't sounds like they are too tough to take care of though, that would be a plus.
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